CONCORD Europe took part in the 11th edition of the European Development Days, which took place on 7th and 8th June 2017 in Brussels. Find below the main take-aways from this 2-day event.

The European Development Days, organised by the European Commission, is Europe’s leading forum on development: every year since 2006, it brings the development community together to share ideas and experiences, and inspire to find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The 2017 edition was dedicated to “Investing in Development!”, making it one of the very first major conferences focused on the issue. CONCORD Europe, bolstered by its membership from all around Europe, strongly represented the voice of Civil Society in the event.

Most of our members attended the #EDD17 and hosted at least one session. We compiled the sessions, labs and workshops in a special newsletter which was sent ahead of the event.

Next to these sessions, CONCORD Europe was present in the Closing Ceremony during which our Vice-President, Laura Sullivan (ActionAid), represented the voice of Civil Society sitting next to high-level panelists.

Based on her speech, don’t miss the related blogposts (parts 1 & 2) including her main takes on the #EDD17. Both stories are addressing the necessity of rethinking the logic behind economic growth as the central goal of our policies and politics on Development and beyond.

“We need coherence between trade and development. It should be inclusion first, then growth.” Laura Sullivan

CONCORD Vice-President

The Agenda2030 is a huge transformation from the Millenium Goals” Laura Sullivan introduced.”Linking the Sustainable Development Goals to one another, the new Agenda allows us to go beyond the narrow definition of development, revealing common issues that resonate equally in the South and the North. Take tax justice for instance: it will speak to Kenyans as much as Irish citizens. They are an opportunity to talk about global poverty and inequality” she added, “where the EU plays a major role and must take responsibility. Rising inequalities have infected every continent in the world. 70% Vietnamese live on less than 2 dollars per day; in the UK, life expectancy changes by 9 years depending on which district of Oxford you live in” calling the audience and panelists to look behind official statistics.

If you have missed the session, you can find the video of the live streaming below.

On the first day, the European Consensus on Development has been adopted and signed by EU officials during the Opening Ceremony.

Among other positive aspects, the Consensus pushes the point that civil society matters. In her speech during the closing ceremony, Laura Sullivan thus warned against the recent attacks on civil society, reminding us of its fundamental role as watchdog but also political influencer. Not only does civil society constitute a and important element in maintaining the balance of power in a democracy, but it also pushes major political achievements: where would we be with the SDGs had civil society not actively engaged in their making?

Ahead of the Opening Panel, our confederation and SDG Watch met with Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Besides Financing for Development, Gender Equality, Climate Change and Migration were among the wide range of different topics discussed by CONCORD members throughout their sessions at EDDs. Among the +100 sessions, let’s highlight: Oxfam‘s session on “New Means and Partnerships to Address Forced Displacement” and Habitat for Humanity who was taking part in a session titled “Yours and Mine – Investing in Development is everyone’s Business!“.

The European Development Days were also a unique opportunity to meet shareholders, experts and journalists. Our members have been interviewed and filmed. Results coming soon.

For getting even more accurate idea, how an outstanding event EDD17 was, we invite you to take a look at the tweets using #EDD17 or the videos on EuropeAid YouTube channel